Sometimes it’s not all about the score.
This 2018 Super Bowl took huge strides in making one of the biggest events in America environmentally sustainable.
This year’s Super Bowl debuted a collaborative effort called Rush2Recycle that targeted zero waste at US Bank Stadium in Minnesota. NFL, PepsiCo, Aramark, US Bank Stadium, and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority hoped to recover at least 90% of the waste generated on gameday.
Now the results are in, and the program successfully recovered 91% of all the trash. Nearly 63 tons of the 69 tons of gameday waste were recovered through recycling or donation for reuse (62%) and composting (29), according to the NFL.
In order to reach the 91% recovery rate, the partners took these steps before the Super Bowl:
- US Bank Stadium food and beverage partner Aramark replaced most of its food vessels, service products and utensils inventory for fans with compostable alternatives
- US Bank Stadium worked with Recycle Across America to design illustrated signs for new three-bin waste stations to show fans how to sort items at the stadium
- Recycling and compost bins were changed to become larger and more accessible to fans
- Trash bins were shrunk in size, encouraging fans to consider using alternative containers
- A LEED-certification-level waste audit last October identified materials for recovery in the stadium’s waste stream
- A zero-waste trial run took place at a December 2017 Minnesota Vikings home game
Steps that were taken after the Super Bowl included:
- The SMG team sorted all fan-generated waste into the right waste compactors
- The waste hauling partners collected and provided weight-tickets at each destination, including the recycling facility, the composting facility, and the waste-to-energy facility
- The waste data was reviewed by SMG and combined with the reuse and donation data collected by the NFL from their community partners
“Most stadiums won’t try and do this when they’re first built,” Bradley Vogel, the US Bank Stadium’s sustainability coordinator, told CNN earlier this month. “They just want to get the operations down… they want to make sure they get the food out before they worry about what happens on the back end.” He added that Pepsi’s involvement in the program and Aramark’s investment in compostable cups and food items were key to putting the zero-waste plan in place.
Michael Vekich, chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which owns US Bank Stadium, echoed that in a statement today. “We couldn’t have gotten here without the commitment of our stadium partners,” he said. “We look forward to sharing our experiences with other facilities who are interested in this important sustainability program.”